Dec 012010
Authors: Andrew Carrera

Cooking in the Jewish tradition gives you savory foods like latkes and matzo ball soup, but not before intense spiritual preparation.

“(Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik) spends several hours making the kitchen kosher,” said Adam Avery, a senior health and exercise science major and president of a Jewish student organization at CSU called Chabad. “All the kosher food comes from out of state, or at least from Denver, where we can get bulk food like that to cook it all up.”

Today the Lory Student Center Plaza will be graced with 6-foot tall Menorah to be lit at 5 p.m. as part of the Jewish holiday, Chanukah (pronounced Hanukkah). CSU President Tony Frank will speak at the event, as will Avery and Chabad’s mainstay, Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik.

Donuts and other food will be served afterward as part of the Jewish tradition to serve dishes fried in oil during Chanukah. Wednesday evening marked the beginning of the eight-day festival.

The Jewish community suffered marginalization at the hands of the Fort Collins local government in 2005 and 2006 when the town’s City Council voted unanimously to disallow Rabbi Gorelik and Chabad to display a menorah in Old Town, despite allowing Christmas trees the same right. In a sign of solidarity against the council’s decision, town residents and businesses displayed menorahs in their windows.

CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing in Old Town has played host to Chabad’s off-campus Fort Collins menorah lightings ever since the council’s order.

Little to no difficulties have been found performing a public menorah lighting at CSU.

“(The school) has been really supportive,” Avery said. “They’ve been really interested in creating a campus where everybody can express their views and show who they are.”

Chabad started five years ago with a group of five students and has grown to a membership of 25 individuals. The group holds cultural dinners, called Shabbat, every Friday night in a storefront in the Campus West Shops.

Chanukah celebrates the Maccabees’ successful 2nd century BCE rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ruler of a kingdom that expanded across today’s Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The more relevant, modern meaning that we pull from it,” said Avery, “is that humans can triumph over evil … If people across the nation are literally and figuratively lighting one candle in their menorah every night, we’re dispelling lots of darkness.”

Staff writer Andrew Carrera can be reached at

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